New features help protect Uplands Park

Oak Bay council approves bike racks and information kiosk

Two new bike racks will soon call Uplands Park home, thanks to an initiative by the Friends of Uplands Park.

The group proposed that two bike racks and an educational kiosk be placed in Uplands Park in late July, and was given the nod of approval by council last Monday night.

The bike racks, to be located opposite the park’s main entrance along Beach Drive and outside of the Dorset Avenue entrance, will be funded by the Rotary Club of Oak Bay. Each rack costs an estimated $1,000.

“Two is such a good start. It becomes an opportunity to educate people about the bylaw… and draws to the situation that bikes cause problems (in Uplands Park),” Kathleen Matthews, co-founder of the Friends of Uplands Park said at Monday’s meeting. “They leave huge tire marks, they’re just pervasive.”

Currently, there is signage at the park entrances notifying bikers that they are not to ride in the park, but people often do, according to Margaret Lidkea, co-founder of the group.

“The bikes riding through the park have ridden through some of the 31 rare plant species, right through the middle of them, and have had quite an impact on them,” Lidkea said, noting the vernal pools have been especially affected.

“Basically, it compacts the soil (in the wetlands) and that has an effect on the plants growing.”

The design of the bike racks would be cohesive with the ones already in the municipality, Lidkea said.

Oak Bay parks and recreation will supply labour and materials to install the two racks, at an estimated cost of $750.

The aim is to have them in the park this fall, Lidkea said.

The Friends of Uplands Park also has hopes that other environmental or community groups will come forward to supply funding for additional bike racks to be installed next year.

The group has identified Cattle Point and Midland as areas where bike racks may be placed in the future.

However, before moving forward with the kiosk project, possible locations will be discussed with the Uplands Advisory Design Panel, as per council’s request.

The Friends proposed it be placed at Cattle Point, next to the recently added Uplands Park sign.

The current information kiosk is outdated and in need of repair, said Lidkea.

“The information is completely dated on the old kiosk,” she said. “I’ve never seen anybody read that kiosk and I’m down there a lot.”

The new kiosk would include trail maps and information about vernal pools and the ecosystem.

A funding partner for the educational kiosk is, however, still needed. The estimated cost, including materials and labour, is just under $7,000.

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